A North Carolina woman and transgender activist won a personal battle to gain clarity on policies at sports stadiums, arenas and race tracks on bathroom access now that all of the major venues in North Carolina have gone on the record to say transgender fans can use the restroom consistent with their gender identity.
Janice Covington Allison’s efforts started after Charlotte’s City Council voted down a proposed LGBT-inclusive public accommodations ordinance in March. Following the vote, Allison and a trans girl tried to use the women’s restroom in the government center building and were challenged by anti-LGBT activists.
According to Allison, she was later told by city manager Ron Carlee that transgender people may use the restroom consistent with their gender identity in city-owned buildings. This includes the government center, Bojangles’ Coliseum, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, the convention center and others.
Carlee’s response to Allison inspired her to check with other venues throughout the state about their restroom policies, and she received a very positive response.
She first heard back from Bank of America Stadium’s director of operations who told her in an email, “After 20 years of operations, we undoubtedly have had transgender persons attend events here and, presumably, they have used the restroom of the gender with which they identify. Bank of America has facilities for women and men, and we have family/unisex restrooms throughout the stadium for attendees with small children or for those who desire more privacy. Please plan to use the facilities in which you feel most comfortable.”
BB&T Ballpark responded several days after Bank of America Stadium with a similar statement.
“The Knights do not have a policy concerning restroom access for transgender patrons,” wrote Charlotte Knights Executive Vice President/COO Dan Rajkowski in an email on June 29. “Patrons are free to choose restrooms at BB&T Ballpark based on their gender identity.”
Just this week, Charlotte Motor Speedway got back to Allison via a letter echoing what the other two venues said.
“All persons are welcome at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” the venue’s Guest Services department wrote. “We do not have a specific restroom policy and we do monitor the facilities for orderly conduct. If you plan to join us for an event, please use the restroom for the gender with which you identify.”